The Art of Living: Celebrating Life | Harvard Business Publishing EducationNisheeta Bajaj, J Ramachandran
This case brings to life how an organization, Art of Living, developed around one man’s lofty aspiration and then multiplied into a movement across geographies. It provides a tangible appreciation of an otherwise amorphous notion of “purpose”, by demonstrating how Art of Living moved beyond conventional levers of growth to creating offerings and galvanizing its members around its evolving purpose (that too in a context of limited resources, since it is predominantly volunteer-run). It further delves into the organizational culture Art of Living created that supported its continued growth. Set in 2020, during the global Coronavirus pandemic, it also invites the students to engage in a provocative discussion about Art of Living’s future as it embraces social media and other online channels to help people deal with the crisis through its various on-line initiatives. The case opens with a glimpse of how the founder reaches out to the world in a new way, during the Coronavirus crisis of 2020. It rewinds to its origins in 1981, with the founder’s aspiration of ‘Bringing a Smile on Every Face’, and traces the first phase of growth of Art of Living, as it built a second line that replicated the success of the founder’s offering and grew the organization’s reach over the 1980s and 1990s, so much so that its 25th anniversary celebration demonstrably displayed its “global” reach.
The next section (over 2006-2016), illustrates how Art of Living grew in scale and scope, by broadening its purview to include a series of programs and social projects that addressed different sections of society and their various needs. As it grew, it put in place an organization that ‘enabled’ rather than ‘restricted’ its entrepreneurial culture.
The subsequent section (2017 to 2019), presents an interesting evolution of its core-from meditation to mediation-that the founder adopted to further widen Art of Living’s purview to include a world without violence; while the last section (2020), presents how Art of Living reinvented its core offerings, putting into question its historical modus operandi.Know more